Whistler—where you can escape the real world at least for a while 

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"Blow up your TV,
Throw away your paper,
Go to the country, build you a home.
Plant a little garden,
Eat a lot of peaches,
Try to find Jesus on your own."

– John Prine

Let us pause, momentarily, and take stock of the world around us as we segue into what Canadians think of as summer, notwithstanding summer is astronomically a month away.

Since we are Canadian and the sine qua non of Canadian-ness continues to be a deeply rooted pride in the fact we aren't USers, as the "Americans" south of the border ought to call themselves instead of usurping the general name given to two entire continents, let us walk a mile in the moccasins of our brothers and sisters south of the border.

If you lived in the USofA right now chances are you'd be more than just a little bit scared. Of course, if you live on this side of the border, which most of you do, chances are you're a little scared too, but for very different reasons.

You'd think after almost two decades of various administrations built, it seems, on scaring the pants off the populace, our southern friends would be more or less inured to fright and worry. But it's one thing to be scared of the boogie man terrorists half a world away; it's another thing entirely to have the boogie man living next door to you ... or at a minimum, concentrated in large urban areas riddled with liberal elitists, whatever they are.

If you live in the U.S. right now you see the paradox of your way of life slipping away from you, hand in hand with your grand mythology of being the world's invulnerable superpower, while, at the same time, having a madman in the White House telling you he's made America great again. On this side of the border we shake our collective heads and tsk-tsk to ourselves, wondering how anyone could be so taken in by the loony ravings of the child president. Unless, of course you're Conrad Black who thinks Trump's smarter than people give him credit for and toadies up with enough lickspittle to get a pardon for his crimes. How do you spell sycophant, Connie?

In the U.S. right now, the only thing stronger than the house-of-cards economy—built as it is on low interest rates, tax cuts for the wealthy and labour laws designed to ensure the profits of labour flow uphill to executives, business owners and shareholders—is the scourge of opioids and growing resentment for anyone and everyone who isn't like us, us being those who believe the path to making America great again is white, conservative, evangelical, racist and not particularly bright. Everyone else, them if you will, is suspect and undesirable and probably believe in science.

For the first time since statistics were invented, the life expectancy of white males in America is decreasing. Of course, statistics is a branch of mathematics and mathematics is generally considered a science so it's quite likely this bit of information qualifies as fake news in the MAGA population. White American males aren't statistically living as long because so many of them are dying a junkie's death, courtesy of the Sackler family and their money-making Oxycontin, an opioid they so successfully distributed by convincing the medical community everything they'd learned about addiction in med school was wrong. The docs, in turn, handed Oxy out like popcorn to those injured on the job or in accidents or those who needed to salve their pain from losing the only job they ever had that paid enough to live on when it was either outsourced to a third-world country or taken over by robots.

And then, there were those whose pain was caused by losing their home to foreclosure. Some had spent the better part of a decade mistaking their home for an ATM and regularly sucking the equity out of it to finance an unsustainable, but patriotic, lifestyle of consumption. Many, however, lost their home—and pretty much everything else they had—when they became part of the 75 per cent of personal bankruptcies caused by medical bills racked up due to sickness or accidents, after which opioids did the rest.

But Canadians tsk at their own peril. As near as the other side of the mountains east of B.C., Thumper Kenney has proclaimed a "Summer of Repeal." Unlike, say, the Summer of Love, this one is all about making Alberta great again. Not coincidentally, it follows the Trump gameplan. So what's going to get repealed? Every single bit of legislation passed by the previous government that, in any way, was designed to tackle climate change. For Thumper, climate change either doesn't exist, is an act of God or simply gets in the way of makin' money. Also to be repealed are any laws that let working people organize, which is to say unionize, to bargain for liveable wages. The temerity. Stealing hard-earned profits from the their rightful owners and giving some small part of them to the people who actually produced them.

And, of course, the warhorse of conservative magical thinking, tax cuts, will play a starring role. Well, almost. Not even Thumper is daft enough to suggest Albertans should be paying something as obviously communistic as a sales tax. After all, you can't cut zero, can you?

Further east, in the Old Country—Ontario—we have the spectacle of the non-crackhead Ford brother who is doing everything he can to bring back the 20th century ... the early 20th century. The one celebrating cheap beer, fast cars, no sex ed and mass transit only for the poor working schmucks who deserve it. I suspect he'd be even more popular if he did smoke crack.

Barring the route John Prine suggested—and I've done my best to follow it except it's too cold to grow peaches at Smilin' Dog manor, and the only Jesus I've found is a Mexican immigrant who has a landscaping business—the only obvious solution to the problems south and east of the border is to get in your car, fill up your tank, play Border Delay Roulette, drive through downtown Vancouver and up the Sea-to-Hell highway or across several mountain chains and frolic your worries away at Whistler.

We've got a summertime of diversions, as usual, weekends so chock full of festivals, events and animation you'll pray for Monday to roll around so you can get some down time. Restaurateurs and hoteliers are ready to feed your growing hunger and pamper your tired body and if that's not enough, you can spa your way to your own personal bliss. Heck, we've got it all, except for a bowling alley and a curling rink ... and at least one of those pops up every now and then in some rezoning proposal.

So get your fun on and forget the unreal world. Ignorance is bliss. So is a good peach.


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